It is with sincere apologies that I publish the column from Ron and Melanie Clarke here online that was supposed to be in the February issue of Anglican Life. It was accidentally left out when the paper was sent for publication. Please share this widely.
Editor, Anglican Life
The Shortest Month
When I was a young boy growing up in Chance Cove, Trinity Bay, the month of February was long and dreary! It was the month with the most snow storms and the least amount of light, or so it seemed as a young boy. There wasn’t much to do in a small outport during a snow storm so time seemed to drag even more than it seemed possible! Entertaining a small child in those days was a difficult process considering there wasn’t any TV or computers, and even books were scarce! But some of my fondest memories of my grandfather are from those stormy days when as a child I was forced to be in the house.
My grandfather was a very religious man. He believed that everything was ordained by God and we should live by His word. Grandfather had been a hard working fisherman all his life and in his old age, it was often times, him and me, together during the times when mom and dad were busy. I sat by his knee and listened to his stories about when he was young and growing up. He told me about his parents and his grandparents, all of which had passed on before my lifetime. He noted all the hard work and hard times people had in our small community and even as a small child I remember being amazed that so many people could live through such difficulties!
Most of all, in those long winters days and nights, grandfather told me stories from the Bible. Considering that February was always after Epiphany, most of the stories he told me were about the Bible readings from the Book of Common Prayer. He started with telling me about Jesus being brought to the Temple to be presented to God, forty days after he was born, and continue through the Gospel readings for the Sundays after Epiphany.
I remember all too well, the story about Jesus being at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. He told me Jesus saw that the wedding had run out of wine. I can still see my grandfather’s face when he told the story. “Do you know what Jesus did when the wine ran out, Ronald?”
“No, Grandfather. What did Jesus do?” I said.
“Jesus told the servants to get the water jugs and fill them with water, my son.”
“Water, Grandfather? Water isn’t wine! What good would water be to the wedding guests?” I asked.
“Well, Ronald, Jesus took that water and turned every last drop into wine for the wedding guests! Jesus didn’t want the wedding to be spoiled by people not having something good to drink with the feast. This was one of the first signs that Jesus showed Himself as the Son of God!”
“But how did He do that?” I asked.
“My son, God can do anything! With his Son, Jesus, they can do more than anything you can imagine! We have no idea about all the great and good things Our Lord and Saviour can do!”
I can still see in my mind’s eye, my grandfather’s face as he told me that story. His eyes sparkled and the smile went from ear to ear! I looked into his face and knew that what my grandfather was telling me was the absolute truth. I knew, even at that young age, that Jesus Christ and our Father were the Light of the World and if my grandfather believed in them, then I would too!
That memory, so many years ago, comes back to me now, as I sit looking out the window at the snow and wind and rain! My grandfather wasn’t a very schooled man—I’m not sure he went to school for more than a year—but his devotion and love for God is something I will never forget and I will always cherish!
In these dark days of winter, remember that Our Saviour is there with you. He is watching over and keeping us all safe and protected. Even in these days where it seems nothing can come from all the bad and dark weather, thoughts, happenings, in the world, remember- Jesus never leaves and as my grandfather believed and as do I, He can make water into wine and He can bring back the good when He sees you need it!
God Bless you all!